an atheist viewpoint

thoughts from a non-theist

Something Rather Cool to Think About on a Sunny Friday

It’s a glorious sunny day here in the West Midlands. What started out as freezing grimness has slowly morphed into bright sun and warmth. Lookling at the shadows my hands cast on my desk made me think about the journey that the photons illuminating the scene had made to arrive on my skin.

The ones that light us all started their journey on the surface of the Sun around 8 minutes before, hurtling through the vacuum of space, before finishing up bouncing off our hands, or tabletops, or keyboards. The vast majority of their brethren will have shot off into space, destined to hit nothing at all until they fall on the surface of some far distant world, many millions of years from now.

Maybe some of them will fall on the eyes of sentient beings on the far side of our galaxy, maybe others will form the smudge of light that is the Milky Way as it appears on the telescope of beings in a far distant galaxy, and maybe, just maybe, some will still be travelling through space when the universe nears its end.

There are incredibly cool things like this happening all around us, all the time, try and take a spare minute or two today to think about them.

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4 thoughts on “Something Rather Cool to Think About on a Sunny Friday

  1. such beautiful musings. thank you for sharing that.

  2. Excellent post Alex.

  3. Nice. But how 'old' is the light from the sun? It turns out to a surprising amount longer than the 8 minutes it took to get from the surface of the sun.http://somethingsurprising.blogspot.com/2011/12/100000-year-old-light.html

  4. @Plasama Engineerquestion, when a photon that gets absorbed by an atom and shortly later re-emitted, still be considered the same photon. Especially when in fact two are re-emitted at a lower frequency. I can see how the light that finally can leave the sun with its path unobstructed could be considered its own light separate and distinct from the original photon created in the heart of the sun hundreds of thousands of years before reaching the "surface" of the sun.

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